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2018 Ohio Field Hockey Schedule
ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio field hockey program revealed its 2018 schedule today, as announced by first-year head coach Ali Johnstone. The Bobcats' 15-match regular season slate is highlighted by eight home contests at Pruitt Field and six Mid-American Conference matchups.
The Bobcats will battle three teams that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Championship field.
"We are really excited for what this season brings to our team," said Johnstone. "We will have an opportunity to play many games at home, including teams from as far as California and as tough as Duke. Our schedule will include our regular MAC matchups along with some top-10 programs to test our strength and competitiveness."
Ohio's new season opens with a pair of matches on the East Coast as the Bobcats visit La Salle (Aug. 24) and Monmouth (Aug. 26). The Bobcats will then host five of their next six matches at Pruitt Field. Ohio welcomes Saint Louis (Aug. 31) and Liberty (Sept. 2) to Athens. Ohio will then meet up with Stanford (Sept. 6) for a neutral-site matchup in Bloomington, Ind. to break up the homestand. The Cardinal went 13-8 last year and finished the season ranked No. 19 in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). The Bobcats open MAC play against Appalachian State (Sept. 15). After hosting UC Davis (Sept. 20), Ohio will take on Central Michigan (Sept. 23) in its second league match.
The Bobcats will then hit the road for four-straight road matches. Ohio visits Drexel (Sept. 30), then returns to MAC play with a trip to Ball State (Oct. 5). After clashing with in-state rival Ohio State (Oct. 7) in Columbus, the Bobcats will take on Longwood (Oct. 12) in a MAC contest in Farmville, Va.
Ohio will close its home schedule with a pair of marquee matchups at Pruitt Field, welcoming rival Kent State (Oct. 19) in a Homecoming showdown before taking on Duke (Oct. 26). The Blue Devils will provide a tough challenge for the Bobcats after going 17-4 overall in 2017 to finish second in the RPI.
The Bobcats end the 2018 regular season with a trip to Oxford, Ohio, to battle MAC archrival Miami (Oct. 28). The RedHawks won both the conference regular season and tournament titles in 2017 after going 11-8 overall and 6-0 in league play. The RedHawks took down Stanford, 2-1, in the NCAA Championship First Round before falling to Duke, 4-2, in the Second Round.
By virtue of winning last season's league tournament title, Miami will host to the 2018 MAC Championship (Oct. 31-Nov. 3) in Oxford. All seven teams will qualify for the conference tournament this season, with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds receiving byes to the semifinals. The No. 6 and No. 7 seeds will face off in a play-in game, with the winner taking on the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals. The No. 4 and No 5 seeds will matchup in the other quarterfinal contest. The 2018 MAC Championship Final will take place on Nov. 3, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Championship Field as conference champion. A total of 18 teams will qualify for the 2018 tournament. Ten teams will receive automatic bids by winning their conference tournaments and an additional eight teams will earn at-large bids. The national semifinals (Nov. 16) and championship match (Nov. 18) will be held at Louisville's Trager Stadium.
Under the direction of Johnstone, the beginning of a new era of Ohio field hockey will be highlighted by the return of senior Kendall Ballard (Charlottesville, Va.), who is coming off a 2017 junior campaign in which she earned Longstreth/NFHCA Division I West All-Region Second Team honors and First Team All-MAC honors for the second year in a row. She led the Bobcats in goals (8), total points (21) and shots (45) and finished fifth in the MAC in both shots and goals. She also tallied five assists, which tied for the team lead and ranked seventh in the conference. In May, Ballard was selected to compete for the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team's travel roster for a June trip to Argentina. Earlier this month, she was named to USA Field Hockey's U.S. Women's National Development Squad.